Governor Outlines Worship Guidance During Pandemic

Governor Eric J. Holcomb and State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG, today issued guidance for places of worship in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“During this time of uncertainty, faith is more important than ever, and I am deeply grateful to our religious leaders for their efforts to find safe and creative ways to serve their communities,” Gov. Holcomb said. “The purpose of this guidance is not to restrict religious liberty, but to save lives during these extraordinary times. I look forward to the day where we can once again worship side-by-side without the threat of spreading coronavirus.”

Gov. Holcomb’s executive order 20-18 states all public and private gatherings, including religious and spiritual, should follow CDC guidance, which restricts gatherings to ten or less people. Click here to see executive orders: https://www.in.gov/gov/2384.htm

To continue safely serving their communities, faith institutions are directed as follows:

  • Church buildings and other physical locations for worship should be closed.
  • Livestream or other virtual services are best.
    • The minimum number of necessary personnel should be used at all times for any services.
    • Staff and volunteers who are not speaking should wear masks.
  • Drive-in services may be conducted only under these conditions:
    • Attendees must be inside vehicles at all times.
    • Attendees should not interact physically with clergy, staff or participants in other vehicles.
    • Vehicles should contain only members of a single household. Do not bring your neighbors or others outside of your household.
    • Cars must be spaced the equivalent of every other parking spot or approximately 9 feet apart.
    • No one may exit a vehicle at any time.
    • Portable bathrooms are not allowed on the premises and no church facilities may be used by attendees.
    • It is preferred that no communion be distributed.
      • In instances when communion is distributed, only prepackaged communion may be used and must be prepared and distributed in a manner that meets food safety standards.
    • The following individuals who are vulnerable and at higher risk for illness should not attend:
      • Persons who are 65 years and older.
      • Those who have severe underlying medical conditions, like heart or lung disease or diabetes.
      • Individuals who are sick.
  • The CDC has provided the following guidance for the faith community: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/guidance-community-faith-organizations.html

PACERS, INDIANAPOLIS PUBLIC LIBRARY ONCE AGAIN TEAM UP

For the 27th year, the Indiana Pacers have teamed with the Indianapolis Public Library to present Call-A-Pacer, a collaboration that allows callers to listen to featured Pacers’ players and
personalities read from fun, basketball-inspired children’s books.

While the library remains closed during the Coronavirus pandemic, fans of all ages can hear excerpts from pre-selected favorites 24-hours a day by calling (317) 275-4444 or (877) 275-9007 or logging onto Pacers.com.

Additionally, fans can download a new Call-A-Pacer phone wallpaper every Wednesday on the @PacersSportsEnt
Instagram account.

The schedule of Pacer readers and stories is listed below, with one featured each week beginning April 6 and running through June 27, 2020. Call-A-Pacer, part of the Pacers Cares education initiative, was created to encourage school-age children to read and visit their neighborhood library.

For more information on Call-A-Pacer or any of the Pacers Cares community programs, visit www.Pacers.com.
Contact is Kelli Towles, 317.440.2122.

April 6 Justin Holiday The Basketball Ball Esme Raji Codell
April 13 T.J. McConnell Dino-Basketball Lisa Wheeler
April 20 Alize Johnson The Real Slam Dunk Charisse K. Richardson
April 27 Goga Bitadze Basketball Break CC Joven
May 4 TJ Leaf Brendan & Belinda & The Slam Dunk Anne Rockwell
May 11 Naz Mitrou-Long Short Takes: Fast-Break Basketball Poetry Charles R. Smith, Jr.
May 18 Edmond Sumner Jimmy’s Boa & The Bungee Jump Slam Dunk Trinka Hakes Noble
May 26 Doug McDermott Crazy About Basketball Loris Lesynski
June 1 Malcolm Brogdan The Basketball Blowout David A. Kelly
June 8 Myles Turner Salt in His Shoes Deloris Jordan
June 15 Domantas Sabonis I Got Next Daria Peoples-Riley
June 22 Victor Oladipo Tall Tales: Six Amazing Basketball Dreams Charles R. Smith, Jr.

Orange County Health Department Updates

In efforts to defeat the Coronavirus (COVID 19) our behavior this week and next is crucial.

The Orange County Health Department, with support from Orange County Commissioners, want to strongly ask all businesses to reevaluate their essential business operations. If you cannot really justify that you are an essential business (retail, manufacturing, and others), you should seriously consider closing.

For essential businesses who remain open, your employees must be able to:
-practice social distancing.
-practice frequent hand washing.
-cloth face coverings need to be worn in any community setting including work
environments

If your business cannot provide these essential practices for your employees, then we urge your business to close.

To protect the health and safety of our residents and your employees we must be
diligent in following guidelines.

Dr. Lopez believes that many people in Orange County are trying to follow the guidelines set forth.

He is encouraging you, as an employer in this county, to take your responsibility toward your employees seriously. Now is not the time to try to find the loopholes in an executive order that will enable your company to carry on as usual.

This is NOT a normal situation.

We must stay strong, support each other, stay optimistic and work together for the benefit of our people.

A nonformal complaint can be made anonymously by anyone and does not require a signature.

Nonformal complaints result in IOSHA contacting the company by phone, mail, e-mail or fax to investigate alleged hazards.

To fill submit a complaint go to: https://www.in.gov/dol/3144.htm

Dr. Lopez Gives Guidelines For Retail and Grocery Stores

As more and more lives are being impacted by COVID-19 in Indiana, Dr. Lopez, Orange County Health Officer, stated, “The next two to three weeks will be some of the most crucial to contain the virus in our community.”
 
Orange County Health Department, with the support of Orange County Commissioners, is strongly recommending for essential retail stores and grocery stores to make the following necessary guidelines to prevent crowding in the store and allow for social distancing:
  • Limit the number of customers and staff allowed in the store at a time. Require staff to count the number of customers entering and exiting the store and to enforce those limits.
  • Clearly mark 6’ spacing lines and other high-traffic areas and consider ways to encourage spacing if there are lines outside. Consider posting signage or using ropes to direct customers and to limit bottlenecks.
  • Designate employees to monitor social distancing and assist customers.
  • Maximize space between customers and employees at checkout.
  • Designate employee(s) to ensure the cleaning guidelines set by the CDC are followed.
  • Discontinue self-serve foods and product sampling.
  • Establish exclusive hours for those in high-risk populations, including seniors, but make sure and follow the customers limited rule during those hours as well.
  • For larger grocery stores and retailers, encourage customer pickup and/or delivery options.
  • Allow only one member of family to enter the store at a time and consider not allowing children (under 16) or pets in the facility.
  • Cloth face coverings need to be worn by all persons including employees.
“We thank those stores that are already implementing all of these measures to keep our community members safe,” Lopez said. 

 

Two More Cases Reported in Washington County; Total at 23

According to the Indiana State Department of Health, Washington County has two new cases of Covid-19 for a total of 23. 

There have been 74 reported tests and no deaths. There has been no record of any infected patients who have recovered. 

There were 408 new cases of the virus reported since yesterday by ISDH.

They reported 42 new deaths and 1,264 more people were tested in the last 24 hours. 

Totals are:

  • 6351 Total Cases in Indiana
  • 245 Total Deaths in Indiana
  • 32,133 Total Tests in Indiana

In the WSLM Listening area, totals today are:

Updated totals from around the WSLM Listening Area:

  • Lawrence County – 56 total cases (up by 1 from Wednesday)
  • Jackson County – 53 total cases (up by 7 from Wednesday)
  • Scott County – 12 total cases (up by 1 from Wednesday)
  • Clark County – 96 total cases (up by 10 from Wednesday)
  • Floyd County – 88 total cases (up by 11 from Wednesday)
  • Harrison County – 51 total cases (up by 3 from Wednesday)
  • Crawford County – 11 total cases (no change from Wednesday)
  • Orange County – 23 total cases (up by 2 from Wednesday)

Deaths caused by Covid-19 in the WSLM Listening Area include:

  • Lawrence County – 7
  • Jackson County – 0
  • Scott County – 2
  • Clark County – 7
  • Floyd County – 3
  • Harrison County – 1
  • Crawford County – 0
  • Orange County – 2
  • Washington County – 0 

Governor Provides New Guidance For Business; Non-Essential Should Sell Online, Delivery or Provide Curbside Service

Gov. Eric J. Holcomb signed a new executive order this week with new advice for local business. 

Retail businesses providing the necessities of life as described above may remain open to the public under the following conditions and restrictions.

  • Such businesses should limit the number of customers in their facility at any given time to achieve the CDC’s required social distancing;
  • Such businesses should limit their hours of operations and consider implementing separate operating hours for the elderly and other vulnerable customers; and 
  • Such businesses shall comply with social distancing and sanitation of application areas and other mitigation measures to protect its employees and the public. 

The Governor ordered all other retail businesses could remain open after April 8 only for online or call-in ordering with delivery or curbside service pickup. 

These retail businesses shall comply with social distancing and sanitation of application areas and other mitigation measures to protect the public and employees. 

Those essential businesses include:

  • Grocery stores
  • Supermarkets
  • Supercenters or mass merchandisers
  • Speciality Food Stores
  • Certified Farmer’s Markets
  • Farm and Produce Stands
  • Convenience Stores and Gas Stations
  • Pharmacies
  • Auto Sales
  • Auto Supply
  • Auto Maintenance and Repairs
  • Farm Equipment
  • Construction Equipment
  • Bicycle Shops
  • Hardware and Supply Stores
  • Office Supply Stores
  • Pet Supply Stores
  • Club Stores

 

First Steps Towards Reopening US Businesses

In a first, small step toward reopening the country, the Trump administration issued new guidelines Wednesday to make it easier for essential workers who have been exposed to COVID-19 to get back to work if they do not have symptoms of the coronavirus.

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, announced at the White House that essential employees, such as health care and food supply workers, who have been within 6 feet of a confirmed or suspected case of the virus can return to work under certain circumstances if they are not experiencing symptoms.

The new guidelines are being issued as the nation mourns more than 14,000 deaths from the virus and grapples with a devastated economy and medical crises from coast to coast. Health experts continue to caution Americans to practice social distancing and to avoid returning to their normal activities. At the same time, though, they are planning for a time when the most serious threat from COVID-19 will be in the country’s rear-view mirror.

President Donald Trump said that while he knows workers are “going stir crazy” at home, he can’t predict when the threat from the virus will wane.

“The numbers are changing and they’re changing rapidly and soon we’ll be over that curve. We’ll be over the top and we’ll be headed in the right direction. I feel strongly about that,” Trump said about the coronavirus, which he called “this evil beast.”

“I can’t tell you in terms of the date,” Trump said, adding cases could go down and then once again “start going up if we’re not careful. ”

At some point, he said at his daily briefing, social distancing guidelines will disappear and people will be able to sit together at sports events. “At some point, we expect to be back, like it was before,” he said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said if the existing guidelines asking people to practice social distancing through the end of April are successful in halting the spread of the virus, more relaxed recommendations could be in order.

Gov. Holcomb Focuses on Long Term Care; Supports EMS

Governor Eric Holcomb’s Wednesday daily briefing focused on nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box ordered directors of nursing facilities and correctional facilities to report any COVID-19 cases or suspected cases and deaths to the state within 24 hours. That included residents, inmates, and employees.

 

Box said 15% or 31 of the state’s 203 COVID-19 deaths have come from nursing and long-term care facilities, which have been a major focus of the state’s efforts to combat the spread of the virus.

Dr. Daniel Rusyniak with the Family and Social Services Administration called those facilities “the perfect storm” for contagion because there are people in a vulnerable population living together in close quarters.

So far, the state has sent Strike Teams to 200 of a reported 735 facilities and tested 600 people. Of those, 191 tested positive and 170 of them were in long-term care facilities.

Box conceded that Indiana has struggled with its COVID-19 testing capacity. Tests are still focused on high-risk groups, she said, adding that the state had received 19 testing machines that could provide results in 15 to 30 minutes and expand capacity.

The state can do about 3,700 tests per day, Box said. The average COVID-19 patient spends 2-4 days in intensive care and 7-10 days total in the hospital.

Holcomb called COVID-19 an “invisible enemy” and reiterated that social distancing is the most effective tool the state has to slow the spread.

“We’ve got to keep our heads down and grind this thing out day after day after day,” Holcomb said. “There is no shortcut.”

He reminded Hoosiers that the anticipated surge in cases was still to come.

“The wave is coming. When you look at the numbers, the numbers don’t lie,” Holcomb said, again going to a basketball analogy. “We’ve got three-and-a-half more quarters to go. We’ve got to dig deep.”

Holcomb also signed an executive order to allow retired and inactive EMS professionals to join the fight against COVID-19.

The executive order permits retired and inactive EMS professionals to provide supplemental health care services in Indiana during this public health emergency without reinstatement or approval by the Indiana EMS Commission if they work under the supervision of a licensed EMS or health care professional.

Under the executive order, retired and inactive EMS professionals are also allowed to provide primary patient care for patients as part of emergency response, transports and facilities with a temporary certification or licensure from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

Scott County Reports 12th Covid-19

The Scott County Health Department has reported today the 12th case of Covid-19. 

The patient was possibly exposed while working as a healthcare provider but employed outside of the county.

The Scott County Health Department has spoken to all close contacts of the patient who could have been exposed.

The patient is currently quarantined at their residence.

There have been 99 total tests administered with 2 deaths reported. 

36 Confirmed Cases of Covid-19 at Mitchell Manor

In a press release issued Tuesday, officials say 36 Mitchell Manor in-house residents have tested positive for COVID-19 as of April 7th. 

Lawrence County has 55 total cases, as reported by the Indiana State Health Department early Wednesday morning. This is an increase of 11 since Tuesday’s report. 

HIPPA guidelines prevent the sharing of personal patient information, but the facility did share the following information:

  • All residents have been tested for COVID-19.
  • Thirty-six of the residents have tested positive at the facility.
  • Two of these residents have died.
  • Thirty-four residents remain in isolation at the facility and are under the care of the facility.
  • Twenty-one current residents have tested negative for COVID-19. Two resident tests are still pending.

Staff and officials are following the guidance of the medical director and local hospitals and will continue the care for these residents in-house unless a resident’s condition progresses to a level of care that requires a transfer to a hospital.

According to the April 3rd press release, five additional residents tested positive after transferring to local hospitals. Three of those residents have died. The other two are recovering at the hospital.

“We have been and will continue to follow all CMS, CDC and state and local health department guidelines concerning COVID-19. Our associates are being diligent on practicing proper hand hygiene and use of personal protective equipment, which is recurring education they normally receive, beginning with their orientation at our facility,” said Mitchell Manor Executive Director Kathi Hignite-Owens.

“Every associate is also screened when they arrive for work and when they leave, including checking temperature, to ensure no additional sickness is brought into the building,” Owens added. “Anyone with a fever over 100.4 is sent home and asked to contact their personal physician.”

These guidelines also place restrictions on the entrance of visitors, family members, and vendors.

HIPPA guidelines prevent the sharing of personal patient information, but the facility did share the following information:

  • All residents have been tested for COVID-19.
  • Thirty-six of the residents have tested positive at the facility.
  • Two of these residents have died.
  • Thirty-four residents remain in isolation at the facility and are under the care of the facility.
  • Twenty-one current residents have tested negative for COVID-19. Two resident tests are still pending.

Staff and officials are following the guidance of the medical director and local hospitals and will continue the care for these residents in-house unless a resident’s condition progresses to a level of care that requires a transfer to a hospital.

According to the April 3rd press release, five additional residents tested positive after transferring to local hospitals. Three of those residents have died. The other two are recovering at the hospital.

“We have been and will continue to follow all CMS, CDC and state and local health department guidelines concerning COVID-19. Our associates are being diligent on practicing proper hand hygiene and use of personal protective equipment, which is recurring education they normally receive, beginning with their orientation at our facility,” said Mitchell Manor Executive Director Kathi Hignite-Owens.

“Every associate is also screened when they arrive for work and when they leave, including checking temperature, to ensure no additional sickness is brought into the building,” Owens added. “Anyone with a fever over 100.4 is sent home and asked to contact their personal physician.”

These guidelines also place restrictions on the entrance of visitors, family members, and vendors. 

“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the friends and loved ones of the patients who have passed away,”Hignite-Owens said. “The safety and well-being of our residents will remain our highest priority as we continue to work in partnership with the Indiana State Department of Health and the local health department and follow the guidance they provide.”